Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska
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Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska

Great Farms & Farmers Come in ALL Shapes & Sizes

November 21, 2011Farmers and Ranchers

How about that title? I’m not going to make fun of anybody shapes of farmers, I promise!

As I go through each day this week, I just keep having “Food Day” pop into my head! I am really excited to keep sharing the good, good things all types of farmers do to supply food. Did you notice there? – I said ALL TYPES of farmers. I applaud anyone who takes initiative to do the most they can with what they are blessed to have. Isn’t it fascinating that in agriculture, one family can earn a living on 5 or 10 acres, while another families may need 5000 or 10,000 acres (fun fact: there are some places such as parts of Wyoming where one cow requires 65 acres per grazing season just to survive)? Niche markets are perfect for the entrepreneurial folks, while commercial farming is much more suitable for the person who does not enjoy greeting the public or being a sales person; they can just haul their grain to town and call in to have it sold. Fortunately, our world offers plenty of demand for ALL of the products from all types of farms.

From our house, you can see farm ground for as far as your eyes can reach.

The field in the picture above is soybeans during the summer. In Nebraska, 97% of all soybeans grown are fed to livestock. Soybean meal is very important in the diets of pigs, chickens, turkeys, and dairy cows. Our family does love to have eggs and bacon for breakfast & the milk jug gets drained often – especially if it’s chocolate milk!

 

This is the Kansas City skyline view from a hotel room. I can't imagine there is much room to grow vast amounts of food for a number of miles.

Thankfully, there are families like mine willing to live 40 miles from the nearest Walmart-or stoplight-and 90 miles from the closest Target (that makes me kind of sad some days). Our small town provides all of the essentials in the grocery store so I can whip up some pretty good meals. One of my favorite things about living in a very sparsely populated area: I can go running on our gravel road & the likelihood of anyone seeing me is slim – thank goodness!

Obviously, cities are a huge attraction for many; there are more jobs, fancier stores, more activities. I understand. I LOVE visiting the city and all of the fun stores and restaurants that are there for my indulgence. I am glad other people want to live there, because as much as I love visiting the city; way, way more, I love living in a very rural area. Good thing we aren’t all the same!

So, as you have read through this particular blog, I hope I have encouraged you to recognize that food is o.k. whether it comes from your neighbors back yard or a dairy across the state (we only have about 140 dairies left in Nebraska, so I’m glad they each have lots of cows!) or a feed yard in Texas. Someone’s family is working to do what is best for them and they very much recognize that the end product must be safe while they are working to keep it affordable and make sure there is plenty of it around.

As for me right now – I’m off to get some supper. If I have to be in the city, I might as well eat at some amazing place that I can’t experience close to home! Happy eating, all.